Bar/Restaurant set to open at Cottman and Brous

Some members of the Mayfair Civic Association are worried about the hours of operation, parking, and noise of the proposed Voix bar and restaurant.

The Mayfair Civic Association last week welcomed a guest speaker to discuss Philadelphia Gas Works’ EnergySense program, held a vote on a zoning matter and discussed plans for the old Teamster building.

At the civic association’s November meeting, the discussion mainly revolved around the purchase of the old Teamsters building, located at the northwest corner of Cottman and Brous avenues, by HLK Group LP.

The management group for one of the businesses expected to open in Unit 1 was present at the November 2017 meeting to relay its plan to open Voix, an American-Asian fusion restaurant and bar.

Members of the civic association had concerns about a number of issues in regard to the business. Their main concerns were the hours of operation, parking, noise and the possibility of it being a nightclub, though Voix representatives said it would not be a nightclub.

Donny Smith, Mayfair Civic Association president, explained at the November meeting that this was an “over-the-counter” property transaction, and the group could not stop the opening of the business.

At the conclusion of the November meeting, the civic nearly unanimously voted on the following resolution proposed by member Kevin Haney.

Haney’s resolution stated, “Given these circumstances, the membership of the Mayfair Civic Association wishes to state publicly via this resolution that it is OPPOSED to the issuing of a restaurant liquor license and amusement permit to Philly Premier Group LLC by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.”

At the end of the November meeting, the civic association sent a letter on the neighbors’ behalf to the Liquor Control Board to state its concern with the business plans.

At the end of last week’s meeting, Haney wanted to propose an additional four resolutions to continue to oppose the plans of Voix.

Haney was hoping that the civic association would look to “enter an agreement for pro bono legal services if they were able to get an attorney” and a few other resolutions.

Haney disputes the claim from Voix that it won’t have a nightclub on the second floor because of the karaoke.

Smith and members of the board explained that the civic association does not have Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance. According to the board, the civic was recently sued after someone fell in front of the old Devon Theater, which was previously owned by the Mayfair Community Development Corporation.

The civic thanked the firms Maniaci, Ciccotta, & Schweizer and Mattioni Law Firm for helping it be removed as a defendant. However, insurance carriers are now reluctant to insure the group, according to the board.

Smith and members of the board explained the danger of continued legal action because of the possibility of being hit with a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). Members of the board also explained that they can personally be hit during these lawsuits. The board claimed that there was nothing else that could be done on the Voix issue.

Last week, Councilman Bobby Henon proposed legislation to offset the cost of insurance for Registered Community Organizations, such as the Mayfair Civic Association. If the bill passes, it would help fund Directors and Officers insurance for “important neighborhood groups haunted by the threat of frivolous lawsuits.”

Ultimately, no vote was held on the proposed resolutions at the meeting.

Smith applauded Haney for being so vigilant on the matter and that Haney had “without a doubt gone above and beyond to ensure that residents who live near the old Teamster Building are kept in the loop, and up to speed.”

Haney mentioned he talked to the board after the meeting and hopes that legislation like Henon’s could help assist in a matter like this.

In other news:

The civic association voted 14–4 to not oppose with provisos for commercial use at 6410–6442 Frankford Ave. The application is for an auto parts store, which will do no repairs for cars.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing date for the proposal is June 6.

Karine Shamlian gave a PowerPoint presentation on PGW’s EnergySense program. She discussed efficiency rebates and grants. For additional information or to apply, visit: PGWEnergySense.com or energysense@pgworks.com.

The American Flag Day Walk is set for Thursday, June 14, at 7 p.m. (rain date June 21) at 3200 Ryan Ave, (at Sackett Street). ••

John Cole can be reached at JCole@bsmphilly.com